By Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein | Globe Staff
July 28, 2014
Grammy-winning hitmaker Ne-Yo had a prime view of Fenway from one of the ballpark’s suites on Sunday afternoon. It was his first visit to Fenway and he was impressed, but he admitted that he’s not much of a sports fan. “My friends argue about teams . . . and I’m like, when’s lunch?” he told us. It was the event, not the venue, that brought Ne-Yo to Boston. He and English pop singer Natasha Bedingfield performed at a benefit for employees of New Jersey-based CareOne and the Massachusetts-based HealthBridge Management who are affected by cancer. Daniel E. Straus, the CEO of both companies, decided to launch the fund-raising effort after HeathBridge employee Dan Grimes, of Carver, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Straus said he wanted to be able to help colleagues who face the disease. Ne-Yo commended the cause, saying he liked the idea of a business taking care of its own. Ne-Yo had flown in for the Fenway concert — which was expected to draw more than 1,000 people — from Cincinnati, where he performed at the Macy’s Music Festival with Robin Thicke, Chaka Khan, and the Boston-bred boy band New Edition. He got some quality time with the local guys and added that Bobby Brown was present for the gig. “He was in rare form,” Ne-Yo said, laughing. Sunday’s Care One/HealthBridge benefit was emceed by “Live! with Kelly and Michael” star Michael Strahan. VIP guests included former Giant Tiki Barber. Strahan and Barber walked the red carpet with Bedingfield, who told us that she planned to cover Coldplay’s “The Scientist” during her set. Like Ne-Yo, she said she liked the look of Fenway, but admitted that she isn’t a big baseball fan. “It’s a little more like cricket, right?” she asked.